|Apollo M1 - |
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Convair/Astronautics preferred M-1 Apollo design was a three-module lunar-orbiting spacecraft. Command, mission, and propulsion modules were designed primarily for lunar orbit, with flexibility and growth potential built in for more advanced missions (such as a lunar landing) with the same basic vehicle design. The preferred command module was a flat-topped blunt half cone lifting-body concept, similar to the HL-10 shape developed by Alfred Eggers at Ames. The re-entry vehicle was 3.17 m long, 3.66 m across, had a total mass of 2,540 kg, and a hypersonic L/D ratio of 0.52. Earth landings would be by glidesail parachute near San Antonio, Texas. The command module, with an abort tower attached through launch, would nestle inside a large pressurised mission module (a similar approach would be used in Russia for the L3M lunar landing spacecraft of 1972-1974). The circumlunar version would have a total length of 14.1 m.
What Astronautics proposed was similar in its mode of operation to the command and service modules that ultimately evolved for Apollo. Convair/Astronautics envisioned mission planning as building progressively upon many earth-orbital flights before attempting circumlunar and then lunar-orbital missions. Elementary experiments that would evolve into rendezvous, docking, artificial gravity, manoeuvrable landing, and an eventual lunar landing were foreseen. A total Apollo cost of $1.25 billion over about six years was estimated. The study cost the contractor about $1 million, four times what NASA paid the company.